evac·​u·​ate | \ i-ˈva-kyə-ˌwāt How to pronounce evacuate (audio) , -kyü-ˌāt \
evacuated; evacuating

Definition of evacuate

transitive verb

1 : to remove the contents of : empty
2 : to discharge from the body as waste : void
3 : to remove something (such as gas or water) from especially by pumping
4a : to remove especially from a military zone or dangerous area
b : to withdraw from military occupation of
c : vacate sense 1 were ordered to evacuate the building

intransitive verb

1 : to withdraw from a place in an organized way especially for protection
2 : to pass urine or feces from the body

Other Words from evacuate

evacuative \ i-​ˈva-​kyə-​ˌwā-​tiv How to pronounce evacuate (audio) , -​kyü-​ˌā-​ \ adjective

Synonyms & Antonyms for evacuate



Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of evacuate in a Sentence

People who live along the coast are being evacuated as the hurricane approaches. During World War II, children were evacuated from London to the country. Residents were ordered to evacuate the building. Residents have been ordered to evacuate.
Recent Examples on the Web Last month, Yellowstone gave a glimpse of the future, when a massive flood forced thousands of visitors to evacuate and closed much of the park as surging waters swept away roads, cabins, and bridges, causing roughly $1 billion in damage. The Week Staff, The Week, 24 July 2022 Fire activity was extreme, and emergency personnel were working to evacuate people and protect buildings, the department said. Jason Hanna And Rebekah Riess, CNN, 23 July 2022 Opossums have no real defense mechanisms, save the power to evacuate their anal glands and fake their own death, which is a neurophysiological response to fear. Elaine Godfrey, The Atlantic, 20 July 2022 Blazes in the southern part of town have forced some 20,000 people to evacuate their homes and burned five campgrounds to ashes. New York Times, 19 July 2022 In France, more than 1,000 firefighters were fighting a blaze in the southwest that’s forced thousands to evacuate and burned through about 18,000 acres. Julie Coleman, Forbes, 15 July 2022 An unusual spate of lightning has ignited more than 50 new wildfires in Alaska, worsening air quality, preparing communities to evacuate and exacerbating an already historic fire season in the state. Jacob Feuerstein, Washington Post, 6 July 2022 The Madelyn Helling Library is open as a shelter for residents forced to evacuate and animals can be taken to the Nevada County Fairgrounds for shelter, according to the sheriff's office. Kyla Guilfoil, ABC News, 29 June 2022 The usual sounds of visitors crowding the park are now replaced by emergency responders working to evacuate people and contain flooding in the area. Analisa Novak, CBS News, 17 June 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'evacuate.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of evacuate

15th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for evacuate

Middle English, to draw off morbid humors, from Latin evacuatus, past participle of evacuare to empty, from e- + vacuus empty

Learn More About evacuate

Time Traveler for evacuate

Time Traveler

The first known use of evacuate was in the 15th century

See more words from the same century

Dictionary Entries Near evacuate




See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for evacuate

Last Updated

2 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Evacuate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/evacuate. Accessed 7 Aug. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More Definitions for evacuate


evac·​u·​ate | \ i-ˈva-kyə-ˌwāt How to pronounce evacuate (audio) \
evacuated; evacuating

Kids Definition of evacuate

1 : to leave or cause to leave a place of danger Residents evacuated the burning building.
2 : to make empty : empty out
3 : to discharge waste matter from the body


evac·​u·​ate | \ i-ˈvak-yə-ˌwāt How to pronounce evacuate (audio) \
evacuated; evacuating

Medical Definition of evacuate

transitive verb

1 : to remove the contents of evacuate an abscess
2 : to discharge (as urine or feces) from the body as waste : void

intransitive verb

: to pass urine or feces from the body

Other Words from evacuate

evacuative \ -​ˌwāt-​iv How to pronounce evacuate (audio) \ adjective

More from Merriam-Webster on evacuate

Nglish: Translation of evacuate for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of evacuate for Arabic Speakers


Test Your Vocabulary

Commonly Confused Words Quiz

  • vector image of a face with thought expression
  • I went to the ______ store to buy a birthday card.
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!